Saturday, 17 August 2013

RX100M2 - The Dynamic Duo

There are occasions where you wish for someone to give you a hand. Or that 2nd opinion that may reveal more out of a scene. A steady hand for that extra stability when the rough gets going. Something small and light-hearted - always hanging around like a sidekick.

Holmes and Watson. Batman and Robin. RX1R and RX100M2? Coming soon ...

Friday, 16 August 2013

Sony RX1R Review - Extended Foursome

I have to admit that the experience with the RX1R was largely positive and now with the initial flood of euphoria waning, will I still keep it? There were also feedback that shooting both RX1R and the 5DM3 wide open is not the fairest test. So I did another round stepped down to f5.6 and you will see that in a while. The enthusiast sector is an interesting one, by and large the RX1R is unique and there is nothing quite like it other than the Leica RF in term of size, shape and FF. On the other hand we have the usual suspects in the lower price bracket albeit in wider 28mm; My lovely Sigma DP1M as well as the Ricoh GR and will be throwing them into the mix for perspective!

So YES .. the RX1R is gonna hang around for a bit longer. If you need numbers or graphs you won't get that here as I let the pictures do the talking. All shots at f5.6 and all 4 cameras in one fell swoop! 

All JPEGs from RAW (NR - OFF) and imported through LR 5 & Sigma Photo Pro (DP1M). No Sharpening added. Minor contrast / EV adjustment to taste. Clarity +15. Saturation +5. Vibrance +5. *Some noise reduction for 5DM3's files to remove banding / colour noise. Default 0 for RX1R / GR / DP1M.


Green Panels (DP1M)
28mm (Top Left Corner)

35mm (Top Left Corner)

28mm (Center)

35mm (Center)

Foveon (Sigma) Power

The Foveon X3 sensor is a 46MP APS-C monster and you can read more about it here. In summary and in my view, very few come close to the X3 sensor at this moment (in the compact world) and the details are astonishing ... the only caveat being the need for good light and a bias toward red. The GR is pretty good in most cases but a little soft with 'film-like' grains at base. There is also some smearing although some sharpening may improve the IQ.

The 5DM3 + Sigma 35mm ART bested the RX1R for corner sharpness but the Sony is much much better in the interpretation of fine details in the center.


Art (GR)
28mm (Top Right)

35mm (Top Right)

28mm (Center)

35mm (Center)

Minor CA on high contrast edges and I was able to squeeze a lot more out of the RX1R than the others with wider DR to boot. Fine details are evident on the 5DM3 but I would expect quite a bit of post processing to pull it off. On the 28mm front the files from the GR seems to have hit a plateau and further manipulation only degrades the IQ. This is in addition to blotchy artifacts on the natural stone wall. The DP1M on the other hand is cleaner and neutral with a healthy dose of microcontrast.


Foodie (RX1R)
28mm (Center)

35mm (Center)

Artifacts on the GR and some smearing of details. You can see that sunlight coming through the louvres in the other 3 shots but the GR 'erased' them for some reason. Good microdetails and contrast for the RX1R and the DP1M with the 5DM3 coming off a little worse.


The Foveon X3 is indeed a formidable opponent to the Bayer CMOS sensor (and even the X-Trans CMOS if you must). However the system is not without its inherent quirks e.g. unusable high ISO. Slow AF in good and no AF in poor light. No 3rd party support for X3F files etc. If you can live with these you get an impressive APS-C camera that goes for roughly 1/3 the price of a FF RX1R.

For me the RX1R is a fantastic all-rounder with a fast lens in a pocket-able size that gives you great DR and gritty details. As with every (photography) decision there is a camera for every genre so the 5DM3, DP1M and GR are on a hiatus to the dry cabinet ... and honestly I can't wait for the NEX FF in Sept according to Sony Rumors (if it does materialize at all).

Thursday, 15 August 2013

A Walk in the Park

Cloudy and overcast for the better part of the shoot. Didn't get much but managed to put the cams (RX1R and GR) through their paces.

Jux Smile
Alma Mater

Thursday, 8 August 2013

The Solution ...

What do you do when you need to charge batteries from different manufacturers? This scenario is unlikely for the majority ... but the best solution I have had is the dual charger! All I need is a new plate that costs precious little for the new battery, leaving the original untouched; Better resale value if I must say.

Canon / GR at the same time!

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Sony RX1R - My Feel

A little history before my thoughts on the Sony RX1R. Many moons ago a storm was brewing and that film SLR was going the way of the dinosaur. There were many debates on the 'new' digital platform online with furious exchanges lined with derogatory phrases. I remembered holding my Minolta Dynax 7 and emptying rolls of Konica Centuria 1600 at a night shoot with some buddies and the subject came up. The general consensus was - Digital SLR will be too expensive for the masses and will never take off. Which was the case as my 1st serious digital camera at that time, the Sony F505, cleared out whatever budget I had left for the month and it had a small noisy sensor!

Many moons later and we now live in a different world. Today or since last year with the RX1, Sony delivered the Power of A Full Frame (FF) Into The Palm of Your Hands. It's not exactly cheap at S$3,999 and again not for everyone. I skipped the RX1 for various reasons but namely (1). Too darn expensive for a fixed lens (2). I already have the Canon 5DM3 (3). Out of stock all the time. In case anyone thinks I am contradicting myself, I am! It's a cognitive process I go through every time I reach for the wallet. Heh. Anyhow I borrowed a RX1 unit for a short time early in the year and was pretty much impressed but I have had other cameras keeping me busy then.

R for High Resolution

In a nutshell Sony removed the low-pass filter in front of the sensor and the RX1R was born. For the layman a low-pass filter acts as a sieve to 'clean' up incoming light before transmission to the sensor. So when the low-pass filter is removed you get practically everything that is coming through; In principle you get a higher resolution image. Read more. All these for the SAME price as the original RX1 without a price premium like Nikon D800 / D800E.

The Outing

I just had to do a shootout and brought the 5DM3 along together with the Sigma ART 35mm f1.4 as I have not been using them as much as I have liked. And also the Sigma has garnered a reputation for being one of the sharpest (if not the sharpest) prime in recent times. The 5DM3 combo is a little more expensive and on paper the 5DM3 will eat the RX1R for breakfast with much to spare. All will shot wide so a slight advantage to the RX1R.

All JPEGs from RAW (NR - OFF) and imported through Lightroom 5. No Sharpening added. Minor contrast / EV adjustment to taste. Clarity +15. Saturation +5. Vibrance +5. *Some noise reduction for 5DM3's files to remove banding / colour noise. Default 0 for RX1R.







I Like

  • Compelling combination of FF sensor + lens in a small body
  • Perfect heft - Not too heavy not too light
  • Just the right amount of customization (at least for me)
  • Amazing noise control
  • Excellent IQ
  • Wide dynamic range - slurp!
  • Aperture settings on lens
  • Good but not great battery life

I Hate

  • Spotty AF in low light 
  • Not the fastest AF speed around - probably 6.5 - 7 out of 10
  • Not much of a grip - very nearly dropped the camera twice
  • Expensive accessories - No EVF / OVF in cam!
  • No charger included??
  • A little slow getting ready
  • Can't change size of AF Points 

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Sony RX1R ..

Had a brief runout with the Sony RX1R in tandem with the Canon 5D Mk III + Sigma ART 35mm f1.4 over the weekend. I fully appreciate the emphasis on miniaturization now .. I forgot that the Canon is a beast! My shoulder is still hurting ...

 More to come soon ...